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Sudbury chapter says Liberal MP’s excuse for abandoning electoral reform is unacceptable

Sudbury chapter activist André Clément

The Council of Canadians Sudbury chapter says the excuse given by Liberal MP Paul Lefebvre for abandoning electoral reform is unacceptable.

Lefebvre had written, “Our view has always been clear: major reforms to the electoral system, changes of this magnitude, should only be made if they have the broad support of Canadians. Over the last year, our government engaged in an unprecedented dialogue with Canadians about their democracy. …While we heard a wide range of opinions from Canadians, there is no clear consensus on an alternative voting system for Canada. It has become evident that the broad support needed among Canadians for a change of this magnitude does not exist.”

Chapter activist André Clément responds in an open letter published by Sudbury.com, “Let me advise you as to why we don’t accept this reply and perhaps you can pass this information on to the party for their edification – just in case they might want to stop insulting intelligent Canadians.”

“Firstly, the commitments for electoral reform were not conditional upon citizen ‘participation’. The government’s commitment was to undertake electoral reform with the authority and power granted to it by the electorate pursuant to our constitution. Let me know next time you want my approval when the government wants to cut taxes to big business and I’ll tell you what I want. To blame this betrayal on citizen participation is shameful, transparent and, to say the least, immature and childish.”

“Secondly, the ‘consultation’ undertaken by the government was designed to fail. Either those responsible for organizing the consultation were stupid, or they were deliberate in their design. A broad-based consultation on a complex issue must be undertaken within parameters that define the issues and formulate clear questions in order to channel discussions towards a finite conclusion.”

“Thirdly, how dare you tell us your government stated clearly that, ‘changes of this magnitude, should only be made if they have the broad support of Canadians’. You had the broad support of Canadians when they elected you. What more did you need? Orwell’s 1984 predicted the evolution of double-speak and it appears the Liberals also read the book. But what they fail to understand is that double-speak is not a good thing.”

The full letter by Clément can be read here.

On February 11, the Sudbury chapter along with the Nelson, Victoria, Winnipeg, Northumberland, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Quinte, Peterborough-Kawarthas, Ottawa, Montreal, Fredericton, Saint John and St. John’s chapters took part in a cross-country day of action in support of electoral reform.

The Council of Canadians continues to call on the prime minister to make good on his election campaign promise to introduce electoral reform legislation by this May, given Elections Canada would need time to put the new system in place.

The next federal election is scheduled to take place on October 21, 2019.